Seed Grant Awards, 2013-2014

Congratulations to the 2013-2014 Seed Grant Award Recipients! Scroll down to see project abstracts.

Son Preference in East and South Asian Diaspora

Neeraj Kaushal (Social Work)

The objective of this proposal is to develop research to study gender discrimination in parental investments across families of East and South Asian Diaspora. The proposed seed grant will be used to develop a research proposal that will be submitted to the NIH to study whether the son-preference widely documented in East and South Asia, especially China and India, continues across generations of immigrants living outside of Asia. In the NIH grant proposal, we will propose to use multiple datasets in the US and other non-Asian countries with large Asian immigrant population to study: (i) how the quality and quantity of parental time investment varies by gender and age of children in Asian, native, and other non-Asian families, (ii) how health inputs for young children, including preventive medical and dental care, differ by gender of children and between Asian, native, and other non-Asian families, (iii) how the amount and nature of household expenditures on sons and daughters varies from birth to age 18 in Asian, native, and other non-Asian families, and (iv) how participation in household chores varies by child’s gender. Findings from this research will provide important insights into the extent and impact of gender discrimination in families and the underlying causes and mechanisms (cultural versus economic) that perpetuate gender discrimination.  The seed grant will be used to develop the research proposal, identify and obtain suitable datasets, and conduct preliminary analyses that will be included in the grant application to the NIH to elaborate the potential contributions and merits of the research proposal.

Socioeconomic Status, Bilingualism & Language Environment

Kimberly Noble (Pediatrics)
Natalie Brito (Postdoctoral Research Scholar)

Twenty-one percent (11.2 million) of school-age children in the United States speak a language other than English at home (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). On the one hand, exposure to multiple languages has been associated with cognitive advantages for infants (Brito & Barr, 2012; 2013; Kovacs & Mehler, 2009ab), children (Carlson & Meltzoff, 2008), young adults (Bialystok, et al., 2005), and older adults (Bialystok, Craik, Klein, & Viswanathan, 2004). Yet, surprisingly, bilingualism is a risk factor for poor academic outcomes in the U.S. (Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998; Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2002). It is likely that the risk associated with bilingualism reflects unmeasured confounds such as socioeconomic status (SES). Socioeconomic status (SES) is a measure of one’s overall status and position in society and strongly influences an individual’s experiences and development form infancy to adulthood. The home linguistic environment may mediate the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive advantage, but variation in the home language environment has not been well documented among bilingual families. The proposed study would recruit 60 socioeconomically diverse families (30 monolingual, 30 bilingual) from families participating in an ongoing study of neurocognitive development. Here we propose to quantitatively measure the amount of language to which each child is exposed (10 hours on two ‘typical’ days). Examining patterns of individual differences across various levels of SES and bilingualism will contribute to our overall understanding of how different brain systems are constructed and interact early in development.